CNM Partners with Nusenda to Issue Job-seekers Micro-credentials Employers Covet

The partnership will allow Nusenda employees to gain valuable workplace skills
December 04, 2019

There’s more to a job than just the basic skill requirements listed on the job description. In the modern workforce, employees are also expected to understand how to work collaboratively, take initiative, and fit into a diverse team—among other more subtle traits that employers covet. 

The problem is these micro-skills aren’t often taught in school or training programs. But that’s where micro-credentialing comes in. Micro-credentialing is a project where micro-skills, also known as “soft skills,” like communication and critical thinking are taught and certified. CNM is one of three pilot schools—and the only community college—that’s developed a micro-credentialing program offered to students. And now that program (which focuses on eight different micro-skills) is available to community partners, including Nusenda Credit Union.

Starting in January, CNM will implement micro-credentialing curriculum that will be taught in Nusenda training sessions through the spring. Nusenda identified three micro-skills to focus on—critical thinking, initiative, and creative problem solving—and CNM professor Lynn Sally, has been writing curriculum that teaches these skills within the context of a financial institution.

 “There’s a lot of verifiable research that shows the skills addressed in the micro-credentials program are essential in the modern workforce and we’re excited to partner with Nusenda to help them meet their specific needs within the financial industry,” says Stephen Mathewson, who oversees the micro-credentialing program at CNM.

While micro-skills might seem simple on paper, Stephen says it takes months of curriculum development and up to 10 hours of teaching to properly address each one.


In addition to Nusenda, CNM has already partnered with other community businesses including two major employersTLC, a local plumbing and heating company, and Jaynes Corporation, a large general contractor that’s built a number of buildings on CNM campuses. Stephen says those two companies wanted to focus on empathy, another of the core eight skills.

“Empathy is important in the trades because often people just want to get the job done. They want to fix the problem or build the project,” Stephen says. “But companies also want their employees to think about their customer’s needs in an empathetic way. They’re fixing problems or creating solutions that affect people’s lives.”

Here at CNM, micro-credentials are being built into curriculums across the college. The micro-skills are not required in classes, but instead offered as extras. As part of the Retail Management Certificate, for example, students have the chance to be issued several different micro-credential badges including creative problem-solving, critical thinking, and intercultural fluency that will help them land a job in the industry.  

All students at CNM have the opportunity to take micro-credentialing workshops, and when CNM students are issued these credentials, they’re issued through Blockchain technology in the form of a unique URL that students can then upload to their Linkedin profile or résumé.

“Down the road, micro-credentialing is going to be more and more important, and we’re excited to offer these skills to students and community partners alike,” Stephen says.